Kemi Darabidan Oladimeji said:
I’m curious though, and this has always been on my mind…
In what ways has Poetry been able to help youths come out of depression, seeing that quite a number of depressed people who have at one point or the other in their lives attempted/committed suicide are poets?
And what practical steps is your guild (if one exists) taking to help troubled youths through poetry?
As regards suicide and depression, I can’t talk as an expert on these twin issues. Though, I am no stranger to them so I will express my personal opinion on it from the perspective of one that went through it i.e. depression and suicidal thoughts.
Also, it is generally believed that most people who attempt and/ or commit suicide are regarded as creatives. However, I know for a fact that poets are not a majority in this regard.
Ok, let me start my answer this way.
I recently read an article from the Guardian newspaper website, that said depression that leads to suicide is usually based on unresolved grief. The issue of unresolved grief arises from sudden loss of a loved one, abuse (sexual, physical, emotional etc), bullying (cyber or physical), anger, peer pressure etc.
From my own little experience and knowledge, the mind is a play ground and the mind is also a battle ground, what you allow your mind to feed on will eventually feed you or feed on you. The mind feeds on words – written, spoken or “action-ated.”
So to reduce or remove depression, words play a key role and that is where spoken word poetry comes to play. But like other genre and art forms, not all spoken word poetry can aid a depressed person, some content will add to the depression.
Being a curator of poetic content, I read and listen to a lot of poems, but it is not all the poems I consume more than once. I’m very careful what I allow into my mind. So I’m not one that believe spoken word poetry must always be about a social cause, I believe in art for the sake of art, just do you.
As regards practical steps that we take as an organization i.e. i2X Media (we are not a guild), to help troubled youths through poetry, they are as follows:
- We provide them with content that entertains, educate and elevates on a regular basis.
- We provide platforms for them to express themselves e.g. War Of Words (Slam Poetry Competition), poetreel.com , wordup411ng.com etc. There is nothing as bad as having something to say and no one wants to listen to you.
- Given our experience and knowledge, we do trainings on how to overcome seeming impossible obstacles.
- From time to time, if we can and when it is possible, we help with financial contributions.
- We also promote them by sharing their content and engaging them on their content.
- On a personal note, I always respond to younger people who chat me up or call me just to talk. Yes, I try to keep the conversation “sane” but with plenty room for them to express themselves.
- I also pray for specific individuals who are going through issues and I am made aware of same.
I hope the above suffice as an answer to your “symposium like” questions.
2020 and beyond.
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